Ms. Lauryn Hill

Notoriously reclusive for most of the dozen years since the release of her multiple-Grammy winning blockbuster The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Ms. Lauryn Hill (as she prefers to be called these days) has been easing out of the shadows with a few festival appearances and now a full-fledged tour. Highly revered for her work with the Fugees and the groundbreaking Miseducation (a potent blend of brash lyrics and her singular synthesis of hip hop, soul, R&B, and reggae), Hill is making a return that is still tinged with controversy. It took her four years to follow up Miseducation with the starkly different MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, featuring only herself on acoustic guitar and a strikingly ragged performance. She's rarely been heard from since, and is now the mother of five children with one of Bob Marley's sons, Rohan. Long-simmering rumors of a new album again heated up as she assembled an 11-piece band for the tour, which is focused on both Fugees tracks and her solo material. Some reportedly has been radically rearranged to the point of being virtually unrecognizable, while the aggressive band's approach has been variously characterized as "space metal" and "free jazz." Hill also has been consistently and unapologetically late for performances, reportedly arriving on stage as many as four hours past show time earlier this month in New York. That said, initially disgruntled crowds have joined in on enthusiastic sing-alongs of tunes like "Fu-Gee-La" and "Doo Wop (That Thing)," while the consensus of critics seems to be that the performances, once underway, have been fierce and uncompromising. 18+. (Photo by Lisa Liang)
Tue., Jan. 18, 9 p.m., 2011

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